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Java is rather smaller than New England. It is six hundred and ninety miles long. It is full of people, there being about five million of inhabitants upon it. Some of them have very good houses, and I think there is more refinement and civilization among them, than among the inhabitants of any of the adjacent islands. Java has many mountains, and some of them are volcanoes. This island is famous for producing excellent coffee, which is brought to this country, and also carried to Europe. It likewise produces many valuable fruits, and other things, on account of which many vessels go there from Europe, to trade with the inhabitants. The Dutch have settlements here, and govern the people.
These three islands, Borneo, Sumatra, and Java, are often called the Sunda isles. The inhabitants in them all, resemble each other very much. The productions are also nearly the same.
What of Java ? Coffee? Fruits ? Trade ?
East of Java are the Moluccas. The principal of them are Celebes, Gilolo, Ceram, Amboyna, and Banda. · All these are very populous. Celebes alone has three millions of inhabitants. These islands are called the Spice islands, because they produce a great many spices. Pepper, nutmegs, cloves, and mace, are brought to Europe and America, from them. The climate here, as well as in the Sunda islands, is warın and pleasant.
In some of the Moluccas, it is very unhealthy. In the island of Celebes, there are monstrous great serpents. These serpents are
What are the Moluccas ? Why are they called Spice islands ?
large enough to swallow a goat whole. Here is a picture of one of these snakes.
I will tell you a story of one of these serpents. Some English sailors went upon the island of Celebes, some years ago. One of the men went by himself and sat down. Now it happened, that one of these serpents lay upon the ground, close to this man. He lay still for sometime, but by and by, he gradually crawled along toward the sailor, taking care to make no noise. At length, being near enough, he sprang upon the man, wound himself around his body, and crushed him to death. The other sailors saw their companion in the folds of the snake, but they could not save him.
Many of these islands are volcanic. The island of Sumbawa, which is near the island of Timor, is celebrated for a volcanic mountain, which, about fifteen years ago, threw out such prodigious quantities of ashes, as to cause
Serpents ? What story of a serpent ? What of Sumbawa What are called the Asiatic islands ? Why are they called Asiatic islands ?
total darkness on the island for twenty-two hours.
I have now given you a short account of the Philippine isles, the Sunda isles, and the Mo. luccas or Spice islands. These several groups, are often called Asiatic islands, because they are near to Asia.
Parley goes to New Holland. The English ship in which I sailed, after passing Java, turned to the east, and proceeded on her voyage. We left the island of Timor on the north, and passed between New Holland and New Guinea. The sea between these two great islands, is called Endeavour's Straits. We occasionally saw the shores of New Guinea, and one day our vessel stopped near the coast, and some of the people came in boats to see us.
Where are Endeavour's Straits?
They paddled round us, at a considerable distance, but would not venture to come on board. They had a very different appearance from the inhabitants of the other islands, that I had seen. They were almost entirely black, and very much resembled the negroes of Africa ; but they were not quite as tall, nor was their hair quite as woolly.
We did not go on shore, upon this island, but I am told, that the greater part of the inhabitants are negroes, like those we saw. There are, however, many tribes of a different character. There are some very wild people, in the interior, who live in the hollows of old trees, some of which are very large, and afford them good shelter. They ascend the trees by a notched piece of wood, which answers as a ladder. When they get into their hole, they pull up this piece of wood so that nobody can follow them.
Describe the inhabitants of New Guinea.